Skip to main content

Full text of "Akbar, The Emperor Of India"

See other formats

2O                          AKBAR, EMPEROR OF INDIA.
their ecclesiastical authority which was transferred to the
Emperor. That the Orient too possesses its particular of-
ficial manner of expression in administrative matters is
very prettily shown by a decree in which Akbar "granted
the long cherished wish" of these same chiefs of the Ulemas
to undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca, which of course
really meant a banishment of several years. Other un-
worthy Ulemas were displaced from their positions or de-
prived of their sinecures; others who in their bitterness
had caused rebellion or incited or supported mutiny were
condemned for high treason. The rich property of the
churches was for the most part confiscated and appropri-
ated for the general weal. In short, the power and in-
fluence of the Ulemas was completely broken down, the
mosques stood empty and were transformed into stables
and warehouses.
Akbar had long ceased to be a faithful Moslem. Now
after the fall of the Ulemas he came forward openly with
his conviction, declared the Koran to be a human compila-
tion and its commands folly, disputed the miracles of Mo-
hammed and also the value of his prophecies, and denied
the doctrine of recompense after death.  He professed the
Brahman and Sufistic doctrine that the soul migrates
through countless existences and finally attains divinity
after complete purification.
The assertion of the Ulemas that every person came
into the world predisposed towards Islam and that the
natural language of mankind was Arabic (the Jews made
the same claim for Hebrew and the Brahmans for San-
skrit), Akbar refuted by a drastic experiment which does
not correspond with his usual benevolence, but still is
characteristic of the tendency of his mind. In this case a
convincing demonstration appeared to him so necessary
that some individuals would have to suffer for it. Accord-
ingly in the year 1579 he caused twenty infants to be